AQ Speaks HR – Human Resource Planning in 2014

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Happy New Year! According to the Chinese zodiac, 2014 is the Year of the Horse.  The spirit of the horse is recognized as reflecting an unremitting effort to self-improvement. The start of the Year of the Horse is a good time for businesses and organizations to review their Human Resource and people management activities and plans for the upcoming year, all in the spirit of continuous improvement.

Following are five key areas that should be included in your organization’s HR plan:

1.   Employee Engagement Survey

Research suggests that organizations with highly engaged and committed workforces can be up to 30% more productive than those with uncommitted or disengaged workforces.  Employee commitment and dedication does not happen by accident. Conduct a formal Employee Engagement Survey as a key component of your business improvement plan.  Determine where your employees rank on level of engagement and be prepared to take action on the results of the survey.

2.   Communication Strategy and Plan

Business leaders often believe they have comprehensive and open communication with employees. At the same time, employees typically report feeling they are left in the dark about what is going on in the organization. To bridge this common disconnect, create a formal communication plan that  includes key messages to all stakeholders and includes a multimedia and multi directional approach. Taking a planned and proactive approach to employee communication is critical for success.

3.   Succession and Workforce Planning

Employers will continue to face challenges in the war to attract and retain high performing talent. External recruitment can be expensive and time consuming. Leading organizations establish and maintain internal succession plans that include the identification of high performing individuals and the development of internal staff. Long term internal development of staff is key to future success and should be made a priority.

4.   Health, Medical and Retirement Benefits Review

Organizations spend large sums of money providing employee benefits. A comprehensive, well managed and well communicated benefits plan is an important employee attraction and retention tool that can give you an edge over other employers. 2014 is a good time to conduct a thorough review of your employee benefits plans to assess their effectiveness and sustainability.  It is also a good time to consider health and wellness programming that can be implemented throughout the year.

5.   Performance Improvement

Many organizations struggle to align employee goals and objectives with workplace priorities and requirements. Employees often report feeling unclear about how their efforts and activities contribute to the success of the enterprise. When this occurs overall effectiveness suffers. Implementing an effective performance improvement plan is essential to the success of any organization.

These five basic elements require careful planning and thoughtful execution. The Year of the Horse is a good time to plan for the success of your workforce and your organization.

For a complimentary checklist of the elements that must be included in your organizations harassment prevention policy, please email me at

Mike A. Cuma is Vice President Human Resources and Labour Relations with Pinnacle. These are the views of the author and not necessarily that of AQ Group Solutions.